Virtual Chair: Innovating Online Meetings and Conferences
If you’re a 90s or early 2000s baby, you’ve probably seen and heard about Pokemon once or twice in your life. You’ve most likely even played the game and walked around the 32-bit pokemon world and sprinted through the grass fields looking for pokemon to catch. Well now that life has caught up and the kids of the latter years are now adults, the nostalgia and light-hearted feeling of being in that world can now be incorporated into your next meeting, conference, or class.
With the help of Virtual Chair, a company that provides a platform responsible for turning your dull and boring zoom meetings into colorful and interactive sessions. Attending those online conferences due to the pandemic has never been more enjoyable. With strict restrictions and the need to prevent the virus from spreading, almost all events that host large groups are canceled, rescheduled, or are most probably held online.
Virtual Chair creates an amazing online space wherein you’ll have the ability to explore the supposed “venue” of the event with your very own customizable avatar. It will be like you were there except only with your eyes and ears. You might not be able to physically be there and shake hands with new people or hug old colleagues, but at the very least these online meetings and conferences can have a spice of excitement through their game-like features. It’s like you’re literally in a video game version of your conference.
The specific application being used for these online conferences is called gather.town. This is the app that allows your real-world conferences to be held right at your computer. This interactive version of zoom lets you move around spaces just like you would at the local conference center. Your online adventure of attending your next meeting/conference starts with you creating your personalized avatar. With a fully customizable avatar, you can mix and match everything from your physical features to your hair, down to the clothes you want to style with during the event.
With the help of the arrow keys on your keyboard, each corresponding direction navigates you around the rooms where you’ll find your colleagues with whom you can chat with and say hi to with its textbox features, or you can just simply say hi with your mic as you’ll be able to see and hear each other as well. Around the rooms, you can find tables and chairs that feature “private spaces” where you’ll only see and hear the people who are at the table allowing private conversations or group discussions. The app also allows you to interact with objects and certain areas of a room where you can find leisure activities such as table games or a live stream of videos by pressing the x button on your keyboard.
The app can also provide multiple rooms for your conferences which can simultaneously hold events such as presentations and ceremonies. In a room the microphones and stages allow you to broadcast to the whole room. On the contrary, if you are a speaker, just like in real life you can take your seat and listen as the resource speaker discusses the topic by navigating your avatar towards a chair, press x, and it transfers you to a zoom meeting of the presentation or meeting. Presents will also have the option to show their prepared slides and presentation.
Virtual Chair will work with your organizing committee to host the perfect virtual event for your school, business, or organization. Focusing on the best practices in conferences, Virtual Chair focuses on 3 main points to make sure the virtual event turns out a success.
First and foremost interaction among participants and the venue itself is key to make sure the online event is not as dull and boring as your usual zoom conferences. Second is the dissemination of materials, making sure everyone in the event is able to soak in the necessary information available, making the event a meaningful one at the very least. Lastly, Virtual Chair will make sure participation among the attendees is present. Being able to walk around, talk with others, and ask questions to hosts and speakers alike allows you to maximize the most out of these virtual events without leaving the comfort of your own home as an organizer and as an attendee.
Virtual Chair is not only suitable for the conditions we are in due to the pandemic. It’s also ideal for events that require people from different places or countries as it is a cheaper alternative to hosting a live event. Not only is it cheaper but the hassle of organizing a whole event that will only last a couple of days and takes months to plan could all be avoided with the help of the Virtual Chair. It’s the closest thing you’ll get as an alternative for hosting a live conference or event.
The company makes sure that every detail of the event is created to please not only the organizers but the participants as well. Starting with the lobby or receiving area where participants will start at, organizers can choose different areas like a garden or a hotel lobby, whichever fits the organization and theme for the event. Organizers need not scout for a place big enough and has the right number of rooms to place the event as Virtual Chair can provide multiple rooms with different settings for multiple events. There are plenary rooms that can broadcast pre-recorded or live talks that have a question and answer portion, there are also poster rooms where digital posters could be interacted with and can be seen up close.
Virtual Chair also provides small details like help desks, maps, conference schedules, and reception areas that help participants navigate around the virtual event and find their destination. Help desks are built for first-time users of gather.town, where they’ll be presented with the basic information on how to use the platform. They can also leave notes at certain areas leaving their mark on the virtual event for the organizers to see. Your sponsors will also be happy to know that Virtual Chair sets them up with booths strategically placed around the area where attendees can interact with provided videos, presentations, or other multimedia materials. Co-Curricular activities can also be held at tables around the lobby where the participants can spend their time playing with their co-attendees.
The academe will surely benefit a lot from hosting events using Virtual Chair. With its limited budget and time constraints, Virtual Chair is built for them. Schools can host classes especially for the little ones who are smart enough to use a computer, in order to keep them engaged and make sure their interest is in the class itself as they are known to have smaller attention spans. With an interactive platform as Virtual Chair, their classes will never be boring again.
Even big companies and academic organizations like Lenovo and the DES (Danish Epidemiological Society) who have used Virtual Chair for their online events prove how useful Virtual Chair can be. Organizing events with thousands of attendees has never been easier. With an appealing design, flexible platforms, and an interactive setting, Virtual Chair can help bring that conference online. It may not be exactly the same as attending and hosting a real live event and missing out on things like physical interactions, with the pandemic this is the next best thing for your school, organization, or company.